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The Viper on the HearthMormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy$
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Terryl L. Givens

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199933808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199933808.001.0001

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“This Great Modern Abomination”: Orthodoxy and Heresy in American Religion

“This Great Modern Abomination”: Orthodoxy and Heresy in American Religion

(p.83) Chapter 5“This Great Modern Abomination”: Orthodoxy and Heresy in American Religion
The Viper on the Hearth

Terryl L. Givens

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the unique nature of the Mormon heresy. Taking as a point of departure the claim of Rudolf Otto that the idea of the holy is the precondition for all religious experience, it suggests that Mormonism presents a reconceptualizing of the sacred that is not amenable to Christian orthodoxy. Its thoroughgoing demystification of the numinous, its radical historicizing of Christian origins, constitute a profanation of religion as traditionally conceived and practiced in the West. Mormonism, in other words, is heretical not by virtue of the articles of faith to which it demands adherence, but rather by virtue of the kind of faith it can be said to disable.

Keywords:   mormon heresy, rudolf otto, mormonism, christian orthodoxy, faith

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